Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Macropodus fry

The Macropodus nest was in a difficult place to see easily, so it was hard to see if there were eggs, but after a few days I started seeing the fry. Today there are 30-40 fry (maybe more) on the glass below the nest. Now I have the great challenge - do I feed them? I don't want to - I have more Macropodus than I know what to do with. On the other hand, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of just letting them starve to death (letting them get eaten doesn't upset me, but letting them starve does, for whatever reason.

The other issue is algal growth. An awful lot of algae has grown along the glass in the tank - mostly along the right side (where the light is) especially along the back (which is against the window). I'm also getting algal growth (maybe cyanobacteria) along some of the gravel. On one hand, since my main interest is plant growth, this should not be a bad thing. On the other hand, the algae can overgrow the plants. One solution might be more plants, another is to get some more Otocinclus (since I only have one in the main tank, they could move over once they have acclimated and knocked the algae back a bit).

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Macropodus: The Next Generation

To serve as a nitrogen source (and create some circulation in the plant tank), I added a few of the baby Macropodus from the breeding tank. A quick pass netted four fish - the largest one, a male, and three smaller ones that appear to have been females. Once he realised that he was the biggest male in the tank, the male Macropodus got to work nest-building and displaying at the females. On Saturday, after less than a week in the tank, he had a fairly large nest. Over the course of the evening he and the largest female have started mating. Although they are still rather small, they appear to be successfully producing eggs - perhaps 3-5 of them are visible floating around after most of their "rolls". While for rather obvious reasons I don't want any more Macropodus (I still have about 30 of them in the breeding tank), it's still pretty cool to see the fish you bred breed.

On a more focussed note, the plants seem to be growing quite well. The light intensity is high enough (at least on one end to the tank) to produce reddish foliage. There has also been noticeable growth over the last week. It really suggests that what I need most in the main tank is better lighting.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

New tank

After getting home from Michigan I launched into the big clean up - two major water changes in the main tank, addition of some rocks, and the addition of a lot of new plants. I also changed one of the bulbs in the "breeding" tank to a compact fluorescent bulb, since the original bulb had blown.

When I went to Petsmart to look at plants I realised that they had fairly cheap 10 gallon tanks (sans heater, pump, lights, or lid). Since I was already thinking about setting up something to try to revive all the uprooted plants in the main tank (that had taken to a floating existence), it seemed like a really good idea. So I bought a 10 gallon tank.

Since I was only planning to use the tank for plants, I figured I could use a soil base. Unfortunately, without thinking too much I used potting soil. Bad idea. It turned out that potting soil is (a) not soil (it's wood chips and compost), and (b) it floats. So that didn't work too well. I later read that if you use soil, you need to add about an inch of gravel above it (and, I suppose, make sure the gravel layer isn't disturbed when you add the water). Anyway, I ended up getting some aquatic plant "soil" from Home Depot - it's porous, fired clay. Hopefully it will do the job of a rooting medium.

Once I established the tank I realised that it needed a nitrogen source (fish waste) so I eventually added a few "baby" Macropodus. Since they are air breathers, I figure the lack of circulation shouldn't bother them. Now I just have to ensure adequate light and CO2 - not the easiest tasks in the world.